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Industry potential for safer alternative to x-rays?

1st May 2018

Scientists from the University of Strathclyde and Capital Normal University in Beijing have developed a new source of intense terahertz (THz) radiation with the potential to be a less harmful alternative to x-rays, and have industrial applications. It is achieved by producing high-charge bunches of relativistic electrons in a laser wakefield accelerator. These high-charge beams of electrons are distinct from the usual low-charge (picocoloumb), high-energy (100s MeV to GeV), femtosecond duration electron bunches that are commonly observed from the LWFA. Their research, led by Professor Dino Jaroszynski of the University of Strathclyde’s Department of Physics, demonstrated that when an intense ultra-short laser pulse is focussed into helium gas, a plasma bubble is formed, moving almost at the speed of light.

Dr Jaroszynski said: “This is an unprecedented efficiency at these THz energies. The increasing availability of intense THz sources will lead to completely new avenues in science and technology.”

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